Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Cheesy Blog Post That Is Not About Cheese

I don’t know if it’s the fact that Easter is on Sunday or what, but today I’m feeling incredibly reflective.  As I was driving between clients’ homes I thought to myself, “I am so content.  I’m happy with my home, my husband, my family, my friends, my church, my job, my modest income, and even my weight.  I guess this is what joy is like.”

As I pondered this it dawned on me that my life is in balance.  I didn’t say my life is perfect.  Maybe I could stand to lose another 5 pounds, but I am okay with that.  I’m happy with where I am.  Then I began to think, “What has robbed me of this joy in the past? Why has it been a struggle to lose weight over the past two years, but been easy the last 2-3 weeks?”

Well, here is the answer to these complicated questions:


Over the past two years I would always have something in my balance wheel that was off track.  When one wheel gets off track the train derails.  Pardon the pun.  I can’t blog about low-calorie eating without addressing balance.  All too often we eat for the wrong reasons like boredom, comfort, and mindlessness.  However, the worst reason of all is because we are trying to fill some sort of void in our lives.  The void is created when one of the spokes from our balance wheel is missing.  The void is the most dangerous reason to eat, because food simply will never fill that void.  It will never feel like enough.  The best reasons to eat are true hunger and nourishment.

Can food solve for boredom?  Yes!  It is entertaining to see a plate of food that looks like a work of art.  It is entertaining to go on a lavish date to a fancy restaurant.  It is entertaining to go to a family feast.

Can food provide comfort?  Unfortunately, yes!  It is a very temporary comfort, but it is a comfort.  Who doesn’t smile at the idea of hot chocolate on a cold, snowy day?  My mom used to bring me a Big Mac and french fries when I was sick as a little kid.  I still crave McDonald’s every time I get sick.  Luckily there isn’t a McDonald’s close to where I live.  I also crave Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup when I get sick.  It can’t be some other kind.  It has to be the kind my mom used to make.  My husband made me chicken noodle soup from scratch the last time I was sick.  God bless him.  I didn’t like it.  I wanted the can.  Deep down I wanted my mom.  Ouch!  I’m such a sissy.

Can food solve for mindlessness?  I don’t know.  I forgot what I was saying, because I’m eating.  Just kidding!  Who am I kidding?  I really did just stop writing to have a 100-calorie pack of cocoa roasted almonds.  They were delicious.  Let’s get back to mindlessness.  I don’t think food can solve for mindlessness.  We actually have to pay attention.  Do not sit down in front of the television with a bag of chips.  You will end up finishing half the bag.  If you are going to eat in front of the television, then at least portion out your snack in a bowl.  Put the bag away.

Now let’s go back to that void I mentioned earlier.  In the past I have had all sorts of thoughts or ideals that were robbing me of my joy.  I have fallen into the many traps that this world tends offer.  I would compare myself to others.  I had an abundance of perfectionist thinking.  The whole process left me feeling like a failure the vast majority of the time.  There are so many different measures of success, but the two that were on my mind were money and weight loss.  My finances haven’t really changed that much, but I have changed my attitude towards them.  The way I view success has changed.  I realize that I have enough.  All my needs are met.  I have forgiven past hurt.  I have forgiven myself for past failures.  I didn’t say that I have forgotten, but I have forgiven.  That is a huge success.  I can’t speak for tomorrow, but today I am content.  Is it any wonder that my appetite has decreased as well?  I feel like my life is full.  I’m just eating when I’m truly hungry.  Suddenly over the past few weeks I got down to my goal weight.  Go figure.

This may not seem like mind-blowing news to you, but it is to me.  I have been a personal trainer for the past 5 years.  Throughout those years I have had success through calorie counting and exercise.  At one point I got down to an astonishing 116 lbs.  I wasn’t even happy.  Sure I felt good about my weight, but I hadn’t fixed my thinking.  I was actually miserable at that weight.  Over the past couple years I was exercising continually and calorie counting sporadically.  I was having a lot of trouble with portion control.  Now I’m nowhere near that 116 lbs, but I’m happier.  I fixed my thinking.  I’m finally embracing that I am not and will never be perfect.  Portion control suddenly just became a whole lot easier.

In case I haven’t driven my point home hard enough, here is a list of several other measures of success that I think are more important than financial success or mere beauty in no particular order:

1. Happiness.
2. Love.
3. Humor.
4. Being a good shoulder to cry on.
5. Having lots of friends.
6. Being a great friend to just a few people.
7. Being a great father.
8. Being a great mother.
9. Being a great husband.
10. Being a great wife.
11. Being good at your job, regardless of what you get paid.
12. Being a good homemaker, regardless of the fact that you don’t get paid.
13. Having a healthy body image.
14. Taking care of your father and mother.
15. Good health.
16. Keeping your spirits up during times of poor health.
17. Keeping your chin up if you are single and don’t really want to be single
18. Enjoying the freedom of being single regardless of whether or not you are dating someone.
19. Generosity.
20. Volunteering.
21. Mentoring.
22. Taking a stand for something.
23. Taking a stand for someone.
24. Balance.
25. Contentment.

The list goes on and on, and not everyone’s success is going to be the same.  If you are struggling to fill some sort of void in your life, then I want to encourage you to dig deeper to try to fix it.  If diet and exercise haven’t served you in the past, then either you didn’t stick with it long enough to see results or you may have a void that is blocking your success.  It is worth figuring it out.  Nobody wants to go through life just spinning his/her wheels.

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